“Chronic fatigue” is a symptom experienced by many people with chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or lupus. People who have deep tiredness that recovers with rest may also use this term- such as when one has a new baby, insomnia, or is underslept due to lifestyle.
“Chronic fatigue” should NOT be confused with the specific illness “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”. In fact, most people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome hate the name, because it diminishes the full impairment of ME/CFS, which extends beyond fatigue.
People with ME/CFS have a profoundly impaired ability to recover when their body (and brain) use energy – even small amounts. This is now better understood thanks to recent research, showing that impaired metabolism and glycolysis in people with ME/CFS. People with ME/CFS are profoundly different at a cellular level, from people who are normal but totally inactive (couch potatoes), and people who are sick with other chronic illnesses that make them tired, such as people with Multiple Sclerosis.
- fatigue for an extended period of time with a slower recovery period,
- post-exertional malaise – which includes both exhaustion and other physical symptoms.
- sleep dysfunction
- cognitive impairment
- autonomic impairment, such as orthostatic intolerance
- neuroendocrine symptoms
- abnormal body temperature
- immune system changes
- flu like symptoms